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on November 11, 2011
Giving 2.0 talks a little bit about everything going on in the world of giving, volunteering, advocating, and legacy creation. Laura reveals her extensive knowledge of internet resources, new trends, and real-life giving stories. For anyone who has a limited view of what philanthropy is, she works hard to provide a litany of options that fall under its umbrella.

Giving 2.0 is fundamentally a broad description of what could be done rather than a focused prescription of what should be done. This dynamic may cause some readers to be overwhelmed by the options and walk away from the book without a sense of where to start when so many different roads could be taken. This mile-wide introduction to philanthropy contrasts other recent books such as Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results where Tom Tierney and Joel Fleishman worked hard to structure their advice around 6 questions.

When Laura moves from broad highlights and stories in the main content of each chapter to the concluding sections entitled "Making It Happen," she does provide substantive questions to ask, guidelines to follow, and activities to try. However, the substantive information is provided in a string of bullet points that goes on for pages. In fact, 55 of the 258 pages of content (excluding the bullet-pointed appendices) are listings of bullet pointed questions, guidelines, and activities. Giving 2.0 contains snippets of so much information. It may have been better to divide its contents into separate books rather than package it all together in a somewhat disjointed and overwhelming set of lists. That is the first major flaw in the book that led me to drop the first star in my Amazon rating. If you are looking for a vast source of possibilities, Giving 2.0 is an excellent resource. If you are looking for focused direction, this book is not the right fit for you.

Giving 2.0 is a book I would recommend to someone brand new to the world of philanthropy who is unaware of all the options and possibilities. However, a seasoned philanthropist may not find the same value. The stories and options are rarely accompanied by a critical review of the pros and cons to different approaches. In many sections, the book appears to optimistically recommend everything that everyone is doing. For example, in the chapter on Connecting the Drops, Laura highlights dozens of internet resources but leaves it somewhat ambiguous as to the confidence a donor should have in using them. At one point, she does warn about hidden costs of online giving, but there is no particular online resource praised for its low-cost or questioned for its high cost of processing donations. All the tough decision-making in this section and other sections of the book are still left in the hands of the philanthropist. That refusal to provide clear recommendations for great models and initiatives along with frank warnings about less effective or efficient options is why I dropped another star from this review.
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on October 25, 2011
Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen's Giving 2.0 provides an eye opening and practical read on new ways and methods to give. Here are my personal takeaways from Giving 2.0:

1) Anyone can be a philanthropist - if you give away $1 a year or 1 hour of your time, guess what? You're a philanthropist.

2) You have much more to give than you think. Most people think of giving as giving money or time. But in Giving 2.0, you quickly realize that those definitions are much too narrow. Through dozens and dozens of examples and stories, you can see how contributing expertise, giving a loan (instead of a donation), volunteering online, giving to solve long term structural problems or giving to solve short-term emergency ones are all different ways of giving. WIth so many new options available, and so many examples that pave the way, it's easier than ever to give in a way that's make sense for you.

3) Give strategically -- Think carefully about who you are, what you're passionate about, and how you might benefit from your own form of philanthropy. At the end of each chapter in Giving 2.0, there are a list of questions -- questions to ask yourself and questions to ask the organizations you might choose to give to. I found the questions to ask one's self to be the most helpful to me. What do I care about? Where does my time go during my week? What am I good at doing? What am I passionate about? These questions prompt you to think very critically about how to give strategically and pro-actively, instead of just giving in a haphazard disorganized way.

By understanding yourself well (which is the basis of any strategy), you can find a way to give that's both easy and rewarding. For example, I found Arrillaga-Andreessen examples of how interweaving giving and parenting (something I care a lot about as a Dad). She points out and gives examples of incorporating giving into children's allowances, taking international "volunteering-vacations" with one's kids, using giving as a way to teach the values you believe in, involving children in deciding how to give away one's quarterly giving budget, etc... As a busy working Dad, I find it hard to find the the time to work, give and parent. My takeaway was why not combine all three?

For someone else, the strategy might be donate one's expertise -- as a way to say keep career skills sharp during a stint of unemployment or perhaps as a retirement career. Sometimes giving what you know is more valuable than giving how much you can afford to donate financially.

For others, the strategy might revolve around a key issue that's near and dear to one's heart -- disease prevention, addressing domestic violence, issues in education.

My personal takeaways aside, the underlying message of Giving 2.0 is that each of us should find our own personalized giving strategy that makes sense for us. This strategy should based on who we are, what we care about, and the totality of what we have to give (financially and non-financially). Arrillaga-Andreessen then shows us a range of options available to us (with numerous interesting anecdotes), so that in the span of a few pages we can make more strategic giving choices more conveniently and easily.

Whether you are donating a few hours of time a year, or setting up a family foundation (and everything in between), there is something for everyone in Giving 2.0. I highly recommend it.
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on November 7, 2011
I've been reading Laura's new book, Giving 2.0, these past few nights and I am nothing short of inspired. She has connected the head and heart in a way that few others have done. It is exciting to ponder the implications of her message in higher-level philanthropic circles. It is also the PERFECT time for Laura to have her thoughtful message published to broader audiences! As a philanthropist, educator, and social innovator, Laura is advancing philanthropy's agenda, scope, strategy and impact.
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on May 22, 2013
This book is nothing if not comprehensive. Laura has written what I found to be an extremely practical, focused, thoughtful book on how to engage in giving (at any income bracket) and more so how to continuously monitor and increase the impact of your giving through regular self-assessment. Her ideas were relevant, useful and inspiring - even to someone without a foundation that has my name on it. The pro of all her detail becomes a slight con as you continue through the book - Laura has included pages of bullets to think about after each chapter and the book is ended with an epilogue and then four appendices presumably to make sure no resource went undisclosed. The sheer level of detail Laura has put into this book can be daunting and overwhelming if you let it. That said - don't let it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to put concrete, well thought out and personally satisfying giving goals in place this year.
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on January 15, 2012
I found the book to be excellent. It shows how philanthropy is truly found in finding ways to be involved in your giving, and how that can make a substantial difference in the results of a particular objective desired by the giver. There are numerous, excellent examples of how to enhance the impact of your giving, whether you have minimal amounts to give or are able to set up a foundation to achieve your ends. I give it my highest recommendation.
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on March 9, 2013
This is a well written book. I really enjoy learning how and why people give. I have been in sales for years and fundraising isn't much different. You use many of the same skills to develop a client as you would a donor. It also takes the same skills to collect a check for a purchase as it takes to collect a check for a donation. This book provides you with many facts for your search.
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on November 22, 2011
In a time when every story on the news seems to only make things seem more depressing. This book gives a great example of how we can all participate in being a solution to the world's problems. Great read.
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on November 12, 2011
I didn't realize that giving can be a such a beautiful and strategic science. This book inspired me to start being more practical and smart in the art of giving. It's written with passion and ambition, full of stories that inspire and make you get out there to make the world a better place and do it in your own unique way. There are plenty of resources, amazing insights in this book. So what are you waiting for? Let's start giving...
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on November 18, 2011
As a pioneer of engaged philanthropy, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen has been on the forefront of reinventing what it means to be "charitable" in modern society for over a decade now. In Giving 2.0, Arrillaga-Andreessen succeeds yet again in empowering each one of us to claim the title of philanthropist, providing readers with valuable tools to inspire a life of "giving while living."

Having been involved in founding Spark, a nonprofit organization that engages young professionals in giving to global women's organizations, I too have dedicated my life to dispelling the myth that philanthropy is something that happens when we are in our so-called "golden years." As such, I can personally attest to the fact that this is a difficult message to convey: society has conditioned us to believe that the definition of philanthropy is writing big checks to charitable organizations, a practice that is limited only to the few who are lucky enough to achieve great financial success in their lives.

Giving 2.0 masterfully makes a case for the opposite premise: that giving starts with all of us, right now. Leveraging her position in the Silicon Valley, the innovation hub of the world, Arrillaga-Andreessen inspires us to think in a creative and entrepreneurial way about philanthropy, providing readers with tangible ideas for how to give back on multiple levels, whether it is by giving time, contacts, expertise or money. She walks readers through the multiple capacities in which we can give back to our local and global communities, by volunteering time, researching giving online, evaluating nonprofits, measuring impact, social entrepreneurship, advocacy philanthropy, setting up a family foundation or starting a nonprofit.

But what is perhaps most masterful about Arrillaga-Andreessen's message, is her capacity to show us how employing this holistic approach to giving can also provide a gift in return. When giving comes from the heart, says Arrillaga-Andreessen, studies show that it actually makes you feel good, leading to a life of greater fulfillment. As such, Giving 2.0 teaches us not only how to make the world a better place, but also how to have fun while doing it!
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on June 26, 2013
Drawing on lessons from her own extensive experience and from the inspiration of her parents' lives, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, the author of "Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World", has written a very personal manual on how to give well. After fifteen years of hands on philanthropy, Arrillaga-Andreessen has discovered one clear, consistent truth: Passion isn't enough. Feeling good in the moment isn't enough. Personal philanthropy will evolve from reactive to proactive only when knowledge, research, goals and sound strategy form the backbone of your giving. The book is rich with information, ideas and resources. It is an excellent reference for today's donors. Giving 2.0 inspires us all to engage in innovative thinking, continuous learning, collective giving, outcome measuring, and cross sector advocating, because that's what it takes to make a difference.
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